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Battling Unbelief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure

By John Piper
November 2008 | Review by Graham Heaps


No one sins out of duty. We sin because it offers some promise of happiness. That promise enslaves us - until we believe that God is more desirable than life itself (Psalm 63:3). Only the power of God's superior promises in the gospel can emancipate our hearts from servitude to the shallow promises and fleeting pleasures of sin. John Piper shows how to sever the clinging roots of sin that ensnare us, including anxiety, pride, shame, impatience, covetousness, bitterness, despondency, and lust. Delighting in the bounty of God's glorious gospel promises will free us for a less sin-encumbered life, to the glory of Christ. Rooted in solid biblical reflection, this book aims to help guide you through the battles to the joys of victory by the power of the gospel and its superior pleasure.

  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • ISBN: 978-1844743070
  • Pages: 176
  • Price: £5.13
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Book Review

This is a wonderfully rich, practical book about the most effective way to fight the stubborn sins that mark the lives of far too many Christians, including this reviewer. Its chapters deal with anxiety, pride, misplaced shame, impatience, covetousness, bitterness, despondency, and lust.

It stresses that little is achieved without constant endeavour, or without serious consideration of, and dependence upon, the promises of God’s Word. Its main thesis is that underlying all these sins is a failure to take seriously God’s promises to provide the grace and strength we need for everyday life.

John Piper highlights our need to believe the repeated affirmation of Scripture that true joy and delight are found in fellowship with God and walking in his ways.

Strictly speaking this is not a new book. It consists of the practical chapters from Dr Piper’s weighty volume Future Grace, plus a fresh introduction and conclusion. Clearly, IVP felt that issuing this important and satisfying biblical material in a slimmer volume will make it accessible to a wider readership. This reviewer would certainly commend it to Christians of all ages and levels of spiritual maturity.

Battling Unbelief is full of helpful illustrations and life-sustaining wisdom. It is richly and profoundly God-centred and written in such a way as to make godliness attractive to the believer.

There are a few places where the language could have been simpler, and the expression ‘future grace’ would benefit from being explained a little more often. However, these are minor criticisms of a great book.

Buy and read it again and again. Under God it will make a difference to both your faithfulness to the Lord and your joy in him.

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